1st round Swedish Cup 12-13 May
Last weekend the first major race in the classes 1:8IC and 1:10NT took place in Växjö. This is a small but nice track in south east of Sweden. The weather forecast for the weekend was of a really mixed nature, with sunny and relatively warm temperature on Friday and Sunday but Saturday did not look good….. More about that below.
We headed towards Växjö after lunch on Friday and had a nice 250km drive. When we arrived at the track some drivers had already arrived but it was not crowded in any way, so we unloaded the car and prepared for the first outing. We opted to race with the NovaRossi PTS engines from last year at this first event because there has not been any good weather (=read warm) to test the new NovaRossi Keep-On engines.
We started the first test with the same setup as previous weekend tests in Gothenburg. The Serpent 966Evo did look good from the beginning but we were not 100% sure about the pace due to that no timing was available. However we continued with more engine and clutch tests and settings. End of Friday we felt ok with the preparation for the race. Talking about preparation how about this picture from technical inspection… not too much and not to little… just about right! J
|Good planning Wolfgang, good planning…|
Looking out from the hotel window on Saturday morning did not make us happy…. rain…
When we arrived at the track it was wet and basically it did rain the whole day. 4 qualifying rounds was planned but it was obvious that no one (ok, maybe one or two dare devils) would put a car on the wet track. Finally the race officials cancelled the qualifying sessions and decided to move the 4th qualification round to Sunday. This was a good decision because who wants to race in wet conditions…. Now we could spend some quality time with race friends whom some we haven’t seen since last year…..
Sunday looked good with clear blue sky’s and sun (although a little bit cold in the morning). A practice session was scheduled before the first and only qualification session. We took the chance to use this practice session for final tuning of the car before the serious stuff started. Our experience from last year was that the PTS engines with the new cooling head caused us some confusion for how warm the engines should be operated for optimal performance. Anything under 130 degrees would make the engine too rich but it was also very sensitive for fine tuning. There was a big difference in humidity between Friday and Sunday (although the temperature was the same) and because of this we had to tune the engine a lot during Sunday practice but in the end we found it reasonable ok to run around 135-140 degrees.
Having just one qualification round is a bit of a gamble but on the other hand it is the same for all participants.. We felt well prepared but we were not sure about the pace compared to the rest. However the qualification run did go really well, Marcus drove a stable but also fast run. He had to keep the pace up not losing tire temperature and it looked good. The result? Well, how about TQ! A really good start of the 2012 season. It was a close deal as Niklas Johansson (Xray/Picco) was only 0.5 sec behind after a 7 min. Bengt Andersson (Serpent 966/Novarossi PTS) was also running good an took 3rd spot.
After the qualification session we made some analysis of tire wear and we concluded that we needed to do a tire change around 24 min. Our plan was also to refuel every 4 min. The final started good. Marcus and Bengt started with a good pace. Niklas Johansson hade to start from the pit as his engine flamed out during the starting procedure. It took not many laps until the first back markers had to be overtaken. This was a real gamble. Two times Marcus was suffering by being hit by back markers but overall drivers did give each other room during overtaking. After 10 min Marcus did just briefly hit a curb and on power the car flipped. Bengt was now able to go into the lead but Marcus could quickly gain grounds by some good driving. Tires were also getting better when the size was more “right” compared to beginning. Bengt had an incident with a back marker and this gave the opportunity for Marcus to take the lead again. Around the 20min mark Marcus wanted to change tires. This was slightly earlier than originally planned. Tire change went reasonably well. Niklas Johansson was now able to take the lead as Bengt Andersson was involved in another incident.
|Some happy faces from the podium|
The 2nd set of tires was not good…. at the time we had no clue why… Well, 2nd place is not bad and there is still plenty of time left of the final. However the luck should soon turn around…. when there was 10 min left of the final the engine flamed out and also hit the glowplug….
Quickly change the glowplug and refuel but considering a 1min 37 sec stop on a 14 sec lap you lose places…. Marcus was able to give a good fight and retook 3rd place when there was 5min remaining of the final. Niklas Johansson drove a good final and was awarded 1st place. His pace was hard to beat this time. Well done and well deserved! Bengt Andersson ended up 2nd and Marcus on 3rd making the complete podium.
Overall we are satisfied with this first race of the season considering the good performance in qualification and 3rd place overall.
We now have a two weeks break from racing as I am heading to US for a two week business trip and Marcus is heading towards Netherlands doing aerodynamic measurement on a Eco Marathon race vehicle.
Until next time!
Marcus and Wolfgang